CPS board member announces support for marijuana legalization

2 months 1 week 4 days ago Thursday, October 05 2017 Oct 5, 2017 Thursday, October 05, 2017 3:46:00 PM CDT October 05, 2017 in News
Source: Kevin Ko, KOMU 8 Reporter
By: Kevin Ko, KOMU 8 Reporter
loading

COLUMBIA - A Columbia Public Schools board member announced his support for marijuana legalization in Missouri on Thursday evening.

Paul Stephen Cushing spoke in downtown Columbia at the 'Cannabis Caucus,' which was hosted by Better Way Missouri. He is currently the chair on the Board of Education Finance Committee and a member of the board's policy Committee.

Cushing is the first CPS representative to advocate for marijuana legalization, according to a representative from Better Way Missouri. He said he is not representing CPS in his advocacy, and his decision to speak is based on his own personal views.

"I don't smoke, and I have no hidden agenda for doing this. It simply sounds like the right thing to do for me, and I wanted to voice my opinion on it," Cushing said.

Cushing said there are three reasons he's choosing to speak out for statewide legalization: financial responsibilities, school safety, and compassion.

"Being fiscally responsible, that's a big deal for me," Cushing said. "It also makes sense from the perspective of keeping it out of schools. If you legalize it and regulate it, I believe that you're going to eventually remove it from the ability of kids to get it."

For the first time in Missouri's history, the legalization of recreational marijuana could be on a statewide ballot in 2018. Initiative 2018-090 lists a "minor" as anyone under the age of 21, meaning 21 would be the legal age to purchase marijuana if it were to become legal. 

Cushing said he is also a believer in medicinal marijuana.

"Beyond that, there's the compassion issue. We talk about people with AIDS, cancer, or any sort of disease that marijuana can help - it may not cure them, but it makes it easier for them to live with that."

Joshua Lee, a disabled veteran suffering from PTSD and founder of Veteran's Alliance for Compassionate Access, said marijuana lowered his anxiety in ways that prescription medication couldn't.

"For the first time in seven years, I got to hold my wife's hand in public. I was walking in public areas without freaking out and reaching for a knife or a gun. I was able to speak with my back to a window - remarkable. I've never done that in seven years since I came back from Afghanistan."

"PTSD is a mental stab wound, and it causes anxiety, depression, stress. It can cause a host of issues, physical and mental as well," Lee said.

"I was unable to hold my wife's hand in public because I needed to be able to react in case something attacked us. And locking my hand in hers, knowing I'm in America and safe... I still couldn't do it. I'd start freaking out, yell, lose my temper, and stomp off." 

Lee said marijuana lowers these side effects without giving him additional side effects that his traditional prescription medication did. He also said he hopes more public leaders follow in the footsteps of Cushing.

"The fact that Mr. Cushing has the courage as a school official to step up and say, 'The science and data supports this, and needs to be a medicine' is amazing. I truly, truly hope that more people in this state come out, as professionals... And say that we agree - this is a medicine and we need it legal."

More News

Grid
List
AUDRAIN COUNTY - The man who was found on Audrain Road 913 Tuesday next to a crashed car died of... More >>
3 days ago Wednesday, December 13 2017 Dec 13, 2017 Wednesday, December 13, 2017 8:32:00 PM CST December 13, 2017 in News
MOBERLY - Missouri law enforcement is impeded by a number of issues in cases involving child sexual abuse. Alleged... More >>
3 days ago Wednesday, December 13 2017 Dec 13, 2017 Wednesday, December 13, 2017 8:20:00 PM CST December 13, 2017 in Target 8
COLUMBIA - The Columbia Chamber of Commerce hosted the ninth and final public hearing by the 21st Century Missouri Transportation... More >>
3 days ago Wednesday, December 13 2017 Dec 13, 2017 Wednesday, December 13, 2017 7:12:00 PM CST December 13, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - The Federal Communications Commission vote to repeal net neutrality is fast approaching. The vote to remove regulations that... More >>
3 days ago Wednesday, December 13 2017 Dec 13, 2017 Wednesday, December 13, 2017 7:12:00 PM CST December 13, 2017 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - The Justice Reinvestment Task Force took a big step Wednesday when it comes to addressing mental health,... More >>
3 days ago Wednesday, December 13 2017 Dec 13, 2017 Wednesday, December 13, 2017 6:53:00 PM CST December 13, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - As Columbia Regional Airport plans to expand, it got a push from Mayor Brian Treece. Treece called... More >>
3 days ago Wednesday, December 13 2017 Dec 13, 2017 Wednesday, December 13, 2017 6:37:00 PM CST December 13, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - Missouri is among the worst states nationwide at preventing its young people from smoking and using tobacco, according... More >>
3 days ago Wednesday, December 13 2017 Dec 13, 2017 Wednesday, December 13, 2017 6:15:00 PM CST December 13, 2017 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Missouri American Water is making changes to the aging Jefferson City Treatment Plant with the goal of... More >>
3 days ago Wednesday, December 13 2017 Dec 13, 2017 Wednesday, December 13, 2017 5:33:00 PM CST December 13, 2017 in News
Update: Police Chief Ken Burton talked a little bit about the Old Hawthorne homicide at the Citizens Police Review Board... More >>
3 days ago Wednesday, December 13 2017 Dec 13, 2017 Wednesday, December 13, 2017 5:32:00 PM CST December 13, 2017 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Many people accused of crimes are languishing in county jails as the Missouri State Public Defender System... More >>
3 days ago Wednesday, December 13 2017 Dec 13, 2017 Wednesday, December 13, 2017 5:06:00 PM CST December 13, 2017 in Target 8
The Geminid meteor shower begins Wednesday night and viewing conditions may be the best in several years! This annual... More >>
3 days ago Wednesday, December 13 2017 Dec 13, 2017 Wednesday, December 13, 2017 4:47:00 PM CST December 13, 2017 in News
AUDRAIN COUNTY- A fire burned down a home and a truck on Wednesday while the owner was away in Moberly... More >>
3 days ago Wednesday, December 13 2017 Dec 13, 2017 Wednesday, December 13, 2017 4:45:00 PM CST December 13, 2017 in News
POPLAR BLUFF (AP) — A city official in the southeast Missouri town of Poplar Bluff faces criminal charges for... More >>
3 days ago Wednesday, December 13 2017 Dec 13, 2017 Wednesday, December 13, 2017 4:07:00 PM CST December 13, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - UPDATE: MU police arrested a student Wednesday following the bomb scare near the Hearnes Center. Police got... More >>
3 days ago Wednesday, December 13 2017 Dec 13, 2017 Wednesday, December 13, 2017 3:53:00 PM CST December 13, 2017 in News
AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) — A federal grand jury has indicted a Missouri man with making threatening phone calls to... More >>
3 days ago Wednesday, December 13 2017 Dec 13, 2017 Wednesday, December 13, 2017 3:11:24 PM CST December 13, 2017 in News
KLIEVER - Deputies discovered stolen property in the woods near Kliever, Missouri. Police said they were alerted to the... More >>
3 days ago Wednesday, December 13 2017 Dec 13, 2017 Wednesday, December 13, 2017 1:39:00 PM CST December 13, 2017 in News
Jefferson City - While the Republican Congress in Washington is working on a plan to overhaul the country's tax system,... More >>
3 days ago Wednesday, December 13 2017 Dec 13, 2017 Wednesday, December 13, 2017 12:18:00 PM CST December 13, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA – The University of Missouri hit a major fundraising milestone, announcing Wednesday it reached the $1 billion mark. ... More >>
3 days ago Wednesday, December 13 2017 Dec 13, 2017 Wednesday, December 13, 2017 12:08:00 PM CST December 13, 2017 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 45°
5am 44°
6am 44°
7am 42°
8am 42°

Select a station to view its upcoming schedule:

Coming Up Next

4:00a
Paid Program
4:30a
Wild About Animals
5:00a
Paid Program
4:00a
Paid Program
4:30a
Paid Program
5:00a
Paid Program

Tonight's Schedule

6:00p
Football Night in America
7:20p
Sunday Night Football
7:00p
The Christmas Bunny
9:00p
KOMU 8 News @ Nine on The CW
9:30p
Family Guy